SweetWater Squeeze Box IPA

2 Nov

SweetWater Brewing jumped on the fruited IPA train back in the summer with Goin’ Coastal IPA back in the summer. That pineapple infused tropical IPA was a success, so now the brewery is releasing another rendition, Squeeze Box IPA with grapefruit. SweetWater was again kind enough to send me a couple of sample cans of this beer, so let’s dive in and see what I think.


Here’s what SweetWater says about Squeeze Box:

Slice open citrus heaven with this grapefruit laced IPA. Bright and crisp with five tropical hop additions and dosed with a shot of grapefruit, it’s a refreshing new squeeze.

Slice one open!

Availability–12oz cans, 6-packs 12oz bottles, Winter Variety Pack can and bottle, 15.5 Gallon 1/2Bbl kegs (US Sankey), 5 gallon torpedo kegs

Grains – 2-Row, Munich, Wheat, 70/80, Midnight Wheat
Hops – Chinook, Cascade, Columbus, Simcoe, Goldings, Centennial
SpecsABV: 6.1% IBU’s: 45

Squeeze Box pours a light orange color and has nice clarity to it. The slightly off white head sticks around for a bit. The aroma wasn’t nearly as grapefruit forward as I anticipated it to be. There were some slight citrus notes to it, but overall, it was pretty tame. The first sip also seemed restrained. Some of the grapefruit IPAs I’ve had have been pretty intense. This one swings the other way. Had I tasted this one blind, I never would have guessed it was a grapefruit infused IPA.

Where I really had an issue with this beer was on the finish. It was actually kind of off putting. Perhaps that’s where the grapefruit came in, but honestly, it had some light Band-Aid flavor to the finish. I thought I was imagining things, so I gave this beer another try a couple days later on a clean palate, and got the same thing. Maybe it’s grapefruit bitterness coming through on the finish, but to me, it was Band-Aid. That’s not my jam.

I hate to pile on, but this beer wasn’t very enjoyable for me. Usually I can count on SweetWater to produce a solid beer, but this one was a swing and a miss.

As always, don’t take my word for it though. Give it a try yourself and let me know what you think.


As always, thanks to Tucker at SweetWater for the samples. I wish I enjoyed this beer as much as I did Goin’ Coastal IPA or especially the Hash Session IPA, but it just wasn’t to be for me.

Tin Roof Juke Joint & Gameday IPA Updates

20 Oct

New versions of Tin Roof’s Gameday IPA and Juke Joint IPA are now available at the brewery’s taproom.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down with William McGehee and Charles Caldwell, co-owners of Tin Roof Brewing Co, to discuss many of the recent changes at the brewery, as well as some exciting things planned for the future. There was certainly a lot to digest, most of which I will get to in another post in the near(ish) future.

But in a nutshell, there’s a new director of brewing operations in place, as well as several other key positions that are staffed with new to Tin Roof employees. There’s a ton of professional brewing experience that has come on board and there’s a new sense of teamwork and collaboration that’s helping to create new ideas and breathe life into some of the older beers.


Juke Joint IPA

With that said, one of the first things on the list was to rework Juke Joint IPA. The first batch of that reimagined Juke Joint was canned on Monday, and you can look for it by checking the bottom of the cans for a 10/17 date. In speaking with William and Charles, they emphasized that this is just the first batch, and not the finalized recipe. There are still some tweaks to be made. However, upon tasting it, it’s clear that this is a huge step in the right direction for them. The beer pours a much lighter shade of golden orange than its predecessor. The head faded a little quicker than I’m used to, and that’s one of the issues the guys said needed some tweaking. Immediately noticeable are the dank and pungent hops on the nose. The aroma is much more pronounced now, and certainly an improvement. The flavor of the beer itself is very grapefruit forward, and with a clean malt bill. Gone is the muddled graininess of the previous version. The hops linger a bit on the finish to let you know you’re drinking an IPA, but it’s not a bitter finish at all. The mouthfeel is right where it needs to be, neither too thin or too heavy. William said this batch finished just a touch above 6% ABV, so it’s a bit lighter than the 7% of the previous recipe. This version of Juke Joint IPA is certainly something I’m happy to drink now, as I had passed on it previously when seeing it in stores or on tap. And with some more tweaks in store to improve it even more, it should be a staple in my fridge. William commented that it was about 80% of to where they want it to be.


Gameday IPA

Gameday IPA is the fall seasonal, and the last batch of it has been brewed for this year. While you can expect a full revamp of it in 2017, the brewers at Tin Roof decided that they’d double the amount of dry hops in this batch. So any cans you find with a 10/19 canned on date will have twice as much Simcoe and Amarillo dry hops, meaning a much more robust hop aroma, which also translates to flavor. And sure enough, this batch does smell more like, well, an IPA. Personally, I still think the malt profile and hop schedule needs to be adjusted. While many people aren’t fans of session IPAs in general, I think the style certainly has its place, and there are many examples I enjoy. I’m fond of Founders All Day IPA, Oskar Blues Pinner IPA, and recently rediscovered Stone’s Go To IPA, which finally made it to our market in cans. Each of these session IPAs have bold hop aroma and flavor with simple grain bills that don’t get in the way. I’d like to see Gameday IPA’s grain bill simplified a bit so that the hops are the star of the show. The good news is that Tin Roof has about 9 months to work on that for next year’s release.


There are many, many more exciting things going on at Tin Roof. There will be other recipe redesigns and new beers in the offing. One of those is the release of Rougarou Imperial Black Ale (i.e. black IPA) at the brewery this Friday (October 21st). The recipe for this annual release has been cleaned up as well, and I’m excited to give it a taste. If you’re around Baton Rouge, go check out the release party, try some Rougarou, Juke Joint and Gameday, and don’t forget to get a bite of the best brisket in town from Barbosa’s Barbecue while you’re there, because it is legit!


Barbosa’s Barbecue will be at Tin Roof Friday for the Rougarou Imperial Black Ale release party.

Founders PC Pils

27 Sep

Founders Brewing recently launched a new fall seasonal, PC Pils. The brewery was kind enough to send me a couple cans to sample, and sample I did. Here’s what Founders says about PC Pils:

Pleasantly crisp, perfectly clean and profoundly crushable, PC Pils is our take on the classic Pilsner style. While Noble hops have been the preferred choice of Pilsner brewers around the world, we went with some of our favorite American varieties. Piney Chinook, pleasantly citrus Cascade and punchy Centennial make this an easy-drinker with floral hop characteristics. Pretty cool, if you ask us.


I poured the can of PC Pils into my Founders can-shaped glass. Unfortunately, the glass went from a cool room onto my patio on a hot and humid evening, so the beer itself doesn’t appear as clear as it should in the below picture due to condensation. It pours a clear straw color with a small head that’s white as a bone. The aroma is distinctly hoppy, with floral and pine notes. PC Pils certainly doesn’t have a traditional pilsner flavor, as the American hops shine. I get the citrus and pine flavors up front, along with a bit of cracker from the pilsner malt. The finish is crisp, but there’s a bit of bitterness that lets you know this is no ordinary pilsner. Overall, it’s an enjoyable beer for me. I like Founders’ spin on the style, mainly because I’m not a huge pilsner guy in the first place. Their interpretation brings it into my territory of hop forward flavors. This would be a great lawnmower or tailgate beer, as it’s refreshing and crushable at a mere 5.5% ABV.


Founders PC Pils

Check it out when you get a chance, as it’s both bottled and canned, in addition to being on draft.

SweetWater Hash Session IPA

15 Sep

Back in August, I took a vacation with the family to Orange Beach, AL. Of course, I had to make a beer run, and one of the first things I noticed was a SweetWater fall variety pack with cans of 4 different beers. We get SweetWater beers over here in Louisiana (but only 420 pale ale in cans…come on Mockler, give us more cans!), so I didn’t purchase any while over there. But lo and behold, I got home from vacation to beer mail from SweetWater (thanks Tucker!). I got a can each of the Hash Session IPA and Hash Brown IPA.

Hash Brown was released last fall, and it’s back again this year. I reviewed it last year, and really enjoyed it, especially as the weather cooled off (which apparently is not going to happen any time soon in these parts).

Hash Session was released this spring as a seasonal, but its success led it to become a year round beer rather quickly. This is what SweetWater has to say about Hash Session:

Cooling out on the dock, jamming tunes and popping tops, waiting for da rod to bend. Gist of the grist is mellow at 4.20% ABV, laying down the base to showcase the blazin’ Amarillo hop hash sunset.

The star of the show here is the hops, specifically the hop hash! We kept the malt bill light to allow the hops to shine through.

We dosed this sucker with a boatload of Amarillo Hop Hash. Pungent with floral, tropical citrus fruit flavors and the hop hash gives it that one of a kind chewy, gooey, resiny mouthfeel. As the chase, we are giving it a hefty dry hop to enhance the potent aromas. Ahtanum gives it orange and grapefruit tones, Crystal for a little kick of spiciness, and El Dorado bringing some pear and watermelon characteristics.

Grains: Maris Otter, Pilsner, Wheat, Midnight Wheat
Hops:Bravo, Amarillo Hash, Ahtanum, El Dorado, Crystal
ABV: 4.20% IBU’s: 55

Hash Session pours a light golden straw color with a light head that sticks around for a bit. The aroma is great, with tropical fruit and floral notes abundantly clear on the nose. It’s packed with hop flavor as well, with a nice pungent hop bite to it, yet with a clean finish. The most impressive thing to me is that Hash Session never seems watered down or too thin bodied, especially given that it’s only 4.20% ABV. It’s super crushable and the hops shine (as they should). It’s a really well done session IPA.


SweetWater Hash Session IPA

Gnarly Barley to release Brightside IPA

24 Aug

IPAs utilizing a lot of late hops are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Many people who were not fans of the IPA style, thinking that they were too bitter, are coming around on the new guard of IPAs, which focus much more on the hop flavors and aromas than they do on bitterness.

With that in mind, Gnarly Barley Brewing will be releasing their newest hop creation, Brightside American IPA on September 17th at the brewery to kick off Louisiana Craft Brewer’s Week.

According to Gnarly Barley co-owner, Cari Caramonta, Brightside is “a massively hopped American single IPA around 6.7% ABV, using Galaxy, Citra, Cascade and Amarillo at about 5 pounds per barrel, with none going in earlier than 20 minutes left in the boil. We’re talking straight hop juice!”

Brightside IPA was brewed yesterday, and here’s a pic of it as it left the heat exchanger:


Look for more details on the release of Brightside IPA soon, along with other events Gnarly Barley will participate in during Louisiana Craft Brewer’s Week. In the meantime, check out the label for Brightside IPA below.

Gnarly Barley Brightside IPA

Breweries come together to help flood victims

17 Aug

In light of the historical flooding that took place in south Louisiana over the last 5 days, many local breweries are making sure they help with the relief efforts. I was one of the lucky ones in the Baton Rouge area who has not been affected, but many friends, acquaintances and co-workers were not so fortunate. The devastation is, quite honestly, unimaginable. This truly was a 1,000 year flood.

Parish Brewing owner, Andrew Godley, personally rescued dozens of people in the Youngsville area on Friday and Saturday by boat. He’s one of the many heroes of the so called “Cajun Navy” that helped people escape rising flood waters. 
Here’s a list of local breweries and their efforts to collect donations and give back to the community. Thanks to all of them. If I missed anyone, let me know and I’ll make sure to add them to the list.

Tin Roof Brewing is collecting items for the relief effort as well as donating 20% of taproom sales tonight (Wednesday) to flood relief.

Urban South Brewery will collect supplies and donate 30% of sales to flood relief on Friday August 19th.

Gnarly Barley Brewing will donate 50% of all proceeds to flood relief on Saturday, starting at noon. They’ll also accept donations of food, water, baby items, etc. to contribute to the relief efforts.

Chafunkta Brewing will collect donated items at their Free Tour Friday at the brewery. Additionally, 100% of the profits on merchandise sales and 100% of the tip jar will be donated to flood relief.

NOLA Brewing will donate $1 for every pint given out at Free Tour Friday, and is suggesting patrons contribute at least $1 for every pint enjoyed during the tour. They are also hosting a raffle to help support the relief efforts. More details can be found here.

Old Rail Brewing is collecting non-perishable food items and customers can get 50 cents off their bill for each item they donate, up to 10 items per bill.

Mudbug Brewery is collecting donations for the relief efforts and will donate $1 from every pint and flight sold in their taproom all weekend long to flood victims.

Crying Eagle Brewing will donate 30% of taproom sales on Thursday to flood relief, in addition to collecting items for donation.

Southern Craft Brewing will donate ALL of their taproom proceeds Friday night to the BRAF Flood Relief Fund. 

Natchez Brewing will host a benefit event on Saturday August 27th. $25 tickets get you a souvenir glass with six 6oz pours, a plate of food from Roux 61, a tour and live music. Thanks to Mississippi for supporting the food victims here!
Also, Oskar Blues Austin brewery packaged drinking water in cans today which will be headed to flood victims here in Louisiana. 
Fight the Flood

Tin Roof Gameday IPA returns August 12th

11 Aug

It may be 3 weeks until LSU football kicks off against Wisconsin, but Gameday is here now. Gameday IPA, from Tin Roof Brewing, that is. 

Gameday Session IPA makes its return beginning Friday at the brewery with a release party featuring food from City Pork. Try it on tap, and grab a six pack or two to go, while at the brewery’s taproom starting at 4 pm. They will also have a single keg of Game Daze, Gameday dry hopped with Lemondrop and El Dorado hops. 

You may remember that I had an issue with the first batch last year, but I’m happy to report that the new team of brewers at Tin Roof got it right from the get go on this year’s initial release. I get notes of mango, apricot, melon and pine, with a clean finish. There’s no trace of the breadiness or muddled hop flavor in last year’s release. This one has a nice hoppy aroma and full flavor, while still being easy to drink. 

Cans will be shipping to retailers soon, so look for it to hit the shelves at your favorite stores beginning next week. 

Tin Roof Gameday IPA

Tin Roof Bayou Bengal Lager can design

19 Jul

By now you should know that Tin Roof Brewing is partnering with LSU to release an officially licensed LSU beer. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a part of the tasting panel, and the style that was eventually chosen was in my top 2. It will be an American lager, and the test batch had a nice lemony aroma and was an easy drinker with a clean finish that will surely make it a popular tailgate beer for this fall’s football season.

The can artwork was just approved today, and thanks to Audra Gaiziunas, CEO of Tin Roof, I’m one of the first to share it. When released, Bayou Bengal Lager will be sold in these beautiful cans, both as 6-packs and in 12-packs. The cans really did turn out great, and they should look great on local store shelves. Check out the design below.

Bayou Bengal Lager Can

Tin Roof Bayou Bengal Lager can design

Bayou Bengal Lager 12-pack

Tin Roof Bayou Bengal Lager will be sold in both 6-packs and the pictured 12-packs

As for the obvious question of when you’ll be able to buy these? Well, that’s still up in the air. The first batch was brewed last week. However, since lagers take longer to finish up than ales, we’re still more than a month away from the official release as of this posting. It’s expected that Bayou Bengal Lager will be available in time for the first LSU football game, and perhaps sooner. Beer releases are always a fluid situation (see what I did there?), so when I find out something more definite, I’ll be sure to post an update.

Tin Roof Gose With The Flow

28 Jun

Hey there fellow ale runners, it’s been a while.

I figured it’s time for a beer review, and I’m geauxing local with this one. Tin Roof Brewing released their one off batch, Gose With The Flow, over the weekend, and I’ve gotten to try it a few times now. I’ve really been on a gose kick of late, given the really hot summer we’ve been having here in Baton Rouge so far. The style is very refreshing, and drinks easy, but also chock full of flavor while typically coming in at a sessionable ABV. Here’s what Tin Roof says about their new gose:

This is our take on an old German beer that was almost extinct. We used a mix of wheat and barley, spiced it up with Coriander and Himalayan Pink Salt and finally fermented with both yeast and lactic bacteria. The result is a smooth flavor with almost no bitterness and a slight sour spiciness, followed by citrusy zest. The finish is crisp and dry with a mouth puckering sensation. Enjoy this very refreshing brew after mowing the yard or a day at the beach.

File Jun 28, 2 49 10 PM

I had this one on tap at the brewery both Saturday and Sunday, then opened a 22 ounce bomber of it Monday evening after some work in the yard. This beer pours a light straw color that’s very clear. The initial pour features a good bit of light spritzy bubbles that fade away very quickly. The aroma is a bit citrusy with a touch of wheatiness. This tastes like a gose should. There’s some tartness, some saltiness and some citrus to it. None of those aspects seems to outweigh the other, and for me, that’s a good thing. Some interpretations of the style are either too sour or too salty, or sometimes both. This one is really refreshing and thirst quenching on a hot summer afternoon.

File Jun 28, 2 49 30 PM

My one quibble with Gose With The Flow is the packaging. This beer screams to be in a can for the summer. I have no problem drinking a 22 ounce serving of it, but the bomber packaging means a higher price point. It’s a tough pill to swallow to pay $10 for a bomber of this beer when I can grab a 6-pack of Terrapin’s Watermelon Gose cans for $9 or a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez gose cans for $17. I want to support the local brewery, especially when they made a solid beer, but sticker shock is a real thing. My fear is that its performance will be judged on bomber sales when it’s got the cards stacked against it.


Kudos to Tin Roof for a really well done gose, and I’m hopeful that this one will be canned at some point in the future. It certainly belongs in that kind of packaging to be enjoyed in all the outdoor venues and outside activities we south Louisianians like to partake in during the summer.

File Jun 28, 2 49 55 PM

Bell’s Oatsmobile Pale Ale

8 Jun

Recently, Bell’s Brewery sent me a sweet package of their newest pale ale to go along with their entrance into the state of Louisiana. Bell’s Oatsmobile Pale Ale has the absolute greatest media kit ever. Seriously. Check out what Bell’s sent me.

Bell's Oatsmobile

I got all kinds of cool Oatsmobile branded stuff, in addition to a couple bottles of the beer to sample. But since this is a beer review, let’s talk about that. Here’s what Bell’s has to say about Oatsmobile:

Aromatic. Approachable. Unique. Intriguing. Happy-go-lucky. Full-bodied.And we’re not just talking about the horse.

This hop-forward session Pale Ale uses a blend of classic and modern Pacific Northwest hops, including Mosaic, Equinox and Glacier, for a pungent blend of peach, mango and tropical aromas. The signature ingredient – oats – are what makes Oatsmobile Ale stand apart, and gives it a body that you don’t see in most other session Pale Ales.

I opened a bottle a couple weeks ago, then another bottle last night, just so I could see what the differences were given some time between tastings (I also went on vacation in between, and am just now getting to this review).

So here’s my non-official BJCP score of Bell’s Oatsmobile.

Aroma (7/10) – Biscuity, with a touch of malt. Hops are noticeable, but not on the forefront.

Appearance (2/3) – Golden side of amber (or is it the amber side of golden?) with little head and not much lacing.

Flavor (15/20) – Assertive hop presence balanced by a bigger malt backbone than the description would indicate.Hop bite lingers a bit, but the malt also makes itself known.

Mouthfeel (4/5) – This is a full bodied beer for a “session ale.” The oats really contribute to the fuller mouthfeel, but it’s not cloying in any way.

Overall (7/10) – This is a nicely balanced beer, with the hoppy aroma and flavor being  balanced by a bigger malt backbone than the style would indicate. At 4.3% ABV, this isn’t really a session IPA, but it drinks more like a 5.5% ABV American pale ale. Bold is a great descriptor, even at such a low ABV.

I wouldn’t be mad if Bell’s decided to can this, but honestly, it falls in kind of a no man’s land for me. I gave it a score of 35/50, which is solid, but it’s hard for me to say I’d buy it on a regular basis. There are beers of a similar ABV that have more hop presence, which is what I like, and that are in cans, which is what I really want from a beer of this ABV. However, it’s a solid beer, and I would be happy to drink it again.

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